Orange County Register - Californians Don't Deserve a Tax Increase
By Darrell Issa
Federal tax reform moved forward this past week in Washington. Good news for most of the country. Not so much for us here in California.
Done right, it would have spurred economic growth, allowed Californians to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, enabled Americans to better save for the future, and helped dig hard-working families out of the mountain of tax increases piled on them in recent years.
Unfortunately, I fear that the plan as approved could actually make the incredible burden our state's taxpayers feel even worse. I voted no because my constituents don't deserve a tax increase.
While the world thinks living is easy in the land of sand and sun, the Southern California families and small businesses I know are putting in long hours and making tough sacrifices to make each day work. Californians have stayed late, picked up second shifts and worked hard in an honest effort to make ends meet, only to find themselves with less and less to show for it.
The tax plan approved this week would have made some good steps forward -- simplifying the tax code, changing the corporate tax rate from the world's highest to be more globally competitive, and bringing down the rates for individual taxpayers -- but I worry that even under the reduced tax rates, many across our state could be forced to pay more, not less, and for me that is simply unacceptable.
For taxpayers in our district, being able to deduct their state and local income taxes from their federal return is the first line of defense against the tax increase factory the Democrats have built in Sacramento. Democrats in our state Capitol have worked around the clock for years, churning out tax increases by the dozen on everything from gasoline, everyday purchases, paychecks -- even plastic bags at the grocery store. Taken together, our state lawmakers have put Californians' taxes at the top of the list -- highest income taxes in the country, highest sales taxes nationwide and now, thanks to the latest 12-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike, the highest gas prices anywhere in the land.
For Americans with leaders in their state Capitol less greedy than our own, eliminating the deduction makes little difference. But for us, eliminating the ability of Californians to deduct their hefty state and local taxes significantly compounds the substantial burdens already imposed on the taxpayers by our state. Even worse, eliminating the state and local tax deduction would assure that almost all of the bill's tax cuts would be distributed to other states -- leaving California with the bill.
Hard-working Californians deserve to see a tax cut too.
Some say the state and local tax deduction allows other states to subsidize Sacramento's bad tax policy. I'd remind them that the numbers show it's actually quite the opposite. For every dollar California taxpayers send to Washington, the state receives less than a dollar back. Put another way: It's actually California taxpayers who already support spending for other states, even with the state and local tax deduction in place.
Republicans are right as they work to reduce taxes, revitalize our economy, make America competitive on a global scale again and fix our broken tax code, but any plan must benefit all taxpayers -- no matter where they live. Californians aren't asking for a special handout, they just deserve their fair shake at the table.
We can do better for California than the plan that was approved this past week. That's why it didn't earn my support. But the process of overhauling our tax code is far from complete. As the bill moves forward to the Senate, I will continue fighting for changes that will ensure this bill returns money to all of our nation's taxpayers -- Californians included.
Tax reform remains imperative. Let's get the details right and get this country moving again.